“but what abouts…”
today i am guest lecturing in two classes at asuza pacific university on down we go: living into the wild ways of Jesus. it’s pretty fun that they’ve used it as a class textbook this semester, and i’m really interested to hear more about what it stirred up.
when i was reflecting today on this past week and the crazy divide on issues like abortion & homosexuality & poverty & health care & economics, the one thing i know i want to somehow emphasize is this–love has always been dangerous and if we’re not careful, the “but what abouts” will always stop us from it.
i can think of example after example after example in the Bible where the pharisees and keeper-of-the-laws were looking for technicalities, saying to Jesus, “but, what about…”
“but what about healing on the sabbath?” (luke 6:6-11)
“but what about her sin?” (luke 7:39)
“but what about his authority to heal?” (mark 2:6)
“but what about eating with sinners and tax collectors?” (mark 2:13-17)
“but what about sin, it had to come from somewhere?” (john 9:13-34)
“but God doesn’t listen to sinners!” (john 9:31)
but what about…but what about…but what about…
i’m not saying we should never explore these kinds of “but what about’s” in our faith. the bible says all kinds of tricky things that we should wrestle with.
but my bigger question is: how have we hidden behind our certain interpretations so that we didn’t have to love?
how have we let our “but what abouts” keep us separated from others, feeling like we are better because we have truth on our side?
how have we used our “but what abouts” to keep us more comfortable, more divided & segregated?
i love my friend rachelle mee-chapman’s post this week called be dangerously compassionate. it is dangerous to be compassionate. Jesus took an awful lot of hits for it in his time here on earth.
and those who say “i’ll error on mercy instead of judgment” are still taking hits from fellow brothers & sisters in Christ for the same reason.
i think humanity likes its easy divides. the rich, the poor, the right, the wrong, the truth, the lies, the in, the out, the black, the white. we like these categories because they keep things clear, certain, defined.
and in a lot of circles, grey is dangerous.
when i look at all of the interactions the pharisees had with Jesus, almost every one of them from a pharisee was a call to black & white.
but Jesus spoke in greys and called us to something dangerous. radical. nuts. crazy. wild.
yeah, this kind of love is dangerous.
it’s the kind of love that defies logic, lays down stones and looks at our own logs, errors on mercy & grace instead of the law, offers compassion instead of judgment, inclusion instead of exclusion, cold water instead of pointed fingers.
this kind of love takes the “but what about’s” and puts them in their proper place–where God worries about them instead of us.
it makes me think of something i heard that billy graham said and my dear friend mike often repeats: “it’s God’s job to judge, the holy spirit’s job to convict, and my job to love.”
i always say that as Christ-followers we should be known as the most wild, crazy, risk-takers, and lovers-of-people in town (wouldn’t that be a much better description of us to be known by than what we tend to be?).
i’m pretty sure it’s impossible to be radical lovers if we are always asking “but what about…”
we will take flak for love.
we will be called unclean.
we will be called unbiblical.
we will be called slope-slippers.
we will be called heretics.
but that’s okay, when i look at this list–Jesus was, too.
but what about that?